A framework to open more paths to the game and improve upon existing ones.
Based on progressions, the model is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and teaching the game based on an athlete's age, the skill they are learning, and game type.
Progressions are a step-by-step approach to teaching which makes it easier for young athletes to grasp a skill. Each progression is developed and evaluated to ensure it is logical, repeatable and transferable for every stage and game-type.
“We've implemented the Football Development Model and we saw it as a way to enhance our game, as a way to offer football to a wider audience and basically a way to just make the game better for everybody.”
From flag to traditional tackle, USA Football has outlined the progression of game types to give leagues and players options to share and play the game. These game types, in addition to the skill and age progressions, help reduce contact and make the game safer.
Keeping football fun and dynamic continues to capture the imaginations of young athletes. When you implement the Football Development Model in your organization, you’re creating an environment for athletes to learn and love the sport.
From non-contact to limited contact to full contact, there are more ways to play and more reasons to stay.
Young athletes need the opportunity to develop basic movement skills such as running, jumping, kicking, throwing and catching in a fun setting built around informal play, exploration and positive reinforcement.
Athletes begin to learn their movement ABCs – agility, balance, coordination and speed – while being introduced to the sport’s fundamentals through fun football practices and games.
Athletes begin to understand sport-specific skills and learn to compete against others in a fun, challenging environment. Athletes can work within a team concept and learn from their mistakes.
Athletes exhibit technical skill development and experience the dawning of tactical awareness and test themselves with more complex strategies and movements within competitive games. Strength and speed are also developed more than in previous stages.
Coaches are the ones that bring the principles of the model to athletes and drive the change. That’s why we need to equip them with the knowledge, confidence and ability to properly bring the model to life.
This model offers the most immersive educational resources football has ever seen, allowing coaches to cover every aspect of a young person’s development and deliver the best experience for their athletes.
Parents have concerns about football and have other options for their children. The model is football reimagined and offers an exciting opportunity for your program. Leagues that adopt the model will offer a great athlete experience and the opportunity that families seek.
Additionally, youth organizations that enroll will receive best practices to help them communicate with parents and promote their leagues.
USA Football is introducing the League Excellence Program to recognize youth leagues based on how they operate against best practices established by USA Football. Leagues will receive benefits based on the level they achieve, including increased support and recognition from USA Football. Sign up to learn more as the League Excellence Program becomes available.
USA Football worked with several organizations on a pilot basis to test and improve the model in 2019.
During the process, USA Football obtained feedback from all major stakeholders in the game - parents, coaches and administrators. This close-up, local engagement helped us discover new ways to connect families with standout youth leagues.